REFLECTION FOR TODAY
April 20, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
So, they said to Jesus, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” Jn. 6:34-35
Prior to our gospel reference of today, the crowd had asked Jesus “What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you?”. This was a loaded question. It is likely that Jesus shook His head in disgust at this reply. He had called them to personal belief in Him, and they ask for signs. They want Jesus to prove Himself by performing signs. But Jesus wants them to believe in Him Himself, not in any signs that He might work, no matter how powerful.
This distinction between belief in the divine Person of Jesus on the one hand, and the performance of signs on the other, continues to play out in the gospel of John. So, for ourselves today, in our own examinations of conscience, we might ask the Lord to help us be honest about how often and in how many ways we prefer signs from God to personal belief in Him.
In our gospel reference today, Jesus affirm He is the bread of life and whoever comes to Him will never hunger. Imagine if you were to never grow hungry or never thirst again. On a natural level, this would be an interesting reality. Of course, if you never had physical hunger or thirst, then you may never enjoy the delight of good food and drink. So why would anyone want to lose out on such delights?
Of course, Jesus was not speaking of natural food and drink, He was speaking of supernatural hunger and thirst. And He was not saying that the spiritual food and drink He came to give us would eliminate our ability to delight in spiritual fulfillment. On the contrary, Jesus was saying that the spiritual food and drink He was to provide would result in never-ending fulfillment and satisfaction.
This statement sets in motion Jesus’ deep, mystical and profound teaching on the Most Holy Eucharist. It will be important to recall that on the previous day, Jesus performed the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, and a crowd of people who had been fed by Him were now seeking more food. Jesus uses their desire for more food to begin to teach them about the Most Holy Eucharist, and He wants to do the same for you.
Put yourself into this scene. What is it that you hunger and thirst for the most? Perhaps you have plenty of physical food, or perhaps you don’t. If you do, what else do you crave? What do you desire? When you have identified your deepest desires right now, use these desires to allow our Lord to teach you about the Bread of Life.
It might be useful to say to our Lord, “Here are my current desires in life…” And then, allow yourself to hear Jesus say to you, “I want to give you so much more. I am what you truly long for. If you come to Me, you will have all your desires fulfilled and more.”
Do you believe that the Most Holy Eucharist is capable of fulfilling you on the deepest level? Too often we approach that Sacrament in a lazy and distracted way. As a result, we often fail to truly receive our Lord on a level that provides this deepest delight and satisfaction.
Reflect, today and throughout this week, upon your approach to Holy Communion. The Eucharist is Christ Himself. It’s a gift that has the potential to not only sustain us in every way but also to draw us into the greatest Heavenly delights. Believe Jesus’ words in this holy chapter of John’s Gospel. For if you deepen your belief in all that Jesus has said, you will begin to realize that all you crave in life will begin to be fulfilled by this precious gift in ways beyond your imagination.
My Eucharistic Lord, You are the Bread of Life. You are all that I desire in life. Give me the grace of understanding, dear Lord, so that I can come to believe all that You have revealed about the Most Holy Eucharist. I do believe, my God. Help my unbelief. Jesus, I trust in You.